Welcome to Jester's Trek.
I'm your host, Jester. I've been an EVE Online player for about six years. One of my four mains is Ripard Teg, pictured at left. Sadly, I've succumbed to "bittervet" disease, but I'm wandering the New Eden landscape (and from time to time, the MMO landscape) in search of a cure.
You can follow along, if you want...

Friday, October 21, 2011

No-win scenario

Let's look at the other side of the loss of a good portion of the Community team.

By necessity, this is going to be a shorter post than yesterday's.  Why?  Because by the very nature of what happened, there aren't a lot of positive things I can say about it.  A lot of good people have lost their jobs, and that is a tragedy.

Still, let's look at what positive things we, as EVE players, can pull out of this mess.

It's tempting to look at this loss from the stand-point of a very circular argument.  Here's how it goes.
  • CCP does a lot of really dumb things.
  • I am a customer.  This makes me angry.
  • CCP responds by laying off important members of the customer support team.
  • I think this is a really dumb move.
  • I am a customer.  This makes me even more angry.
Get into this circle and you will soon find yourself getting madder and madder and madder.  It's completely understandable.  People right up to Mittens himself found themselves on this circle.

But let's take a step back.  Remember: as I said yesterday, this lay-off was the inevitable result of poor management decisions that led us to this point.  20% of CCP employees were going to lose their jobs.  That became unavoidable once the scope of CCP's activities were going to be reduced.  Remember: Incarna was supposed to bring in a whole new type of EVE player.  It isn't happening.  Incarna was supposed to increase subscriptions.  That for the most part also isn't happening, either.

Given this, and given that the 20% reduction was inevitable, as a customer, which would you prefer?  Pick one of these options, and be honest with yourself.  Which would you rather see:
  1. A 20% reduction affecting developers, resulting in fewer expansions to the game we love, but a near-full-sized Community team trying to explain to us why EVE wasn't being developed; or,
  2. A 20% reduction affecting the Community team, resulting in a near-full-sized developer team, more expansions to the game we love, but a situation where we have to wait to learn about those expansions until they're ready to be announced?

Pick one.  Be honest with yourself.

It's a trick question.  I don't have to hear your answer to that question, because I already know the answer, for two reasons:
  1. We saw option one all last winter into this spring.  Lack of EVE development -- coupled with great communications about how long the lack would last (:18months:) -- was what caused you to be pissed off in the first place, remember?
  2. We're seeing option two right now.  If it weren't for the lay-off, all of this surprise good news about what's going to be in the winter expansion would be sending EVE players into unqualified celebrations of joy.
Make no mistake: the loss of so many faces so familiar to the EVE community was a severe blow.  But there are a lot of EVE developers out there that the community has never met that are still on duty, producing remarkable results with only a few weeks left before the winter expansion must be delivered.  As for the remaining Community team in CCP, they are pulling back together and trying to bring something positive out of this mess.

All we can do is try to help them, and try to help those who have started looking for the next step in their lives.

This was a no-win scenario, with no good choices.  I've offered the advice to try to stay positive to everyone I've heard about who is affected by this.  And that includes you if you're reading this.


  1. I think most of the anger comes from the fact that we've seen CCP rushing headlong and heedless into this situation for so long, while maintaining a certain arrogance that everything they did or touched would produce another golden egg (despite many and repeated warnings to the contrary).

    It's possible that at least some of the community team members who lost their jobs were offered to stay employed if they moved to Iceland and/or accepted another position in the new organization but chose not to do so.

    Of the approximately 120 people who were reportedly laid off, we've only seen a list of 20 or so names. Many of the rest may be relative unknowns, but I'm curious how many middle management jobs got axed. I wonder if some "old guard" middle management types have been given a more graceful exit strategy ("you have 90 days to move on") rather than a direct layoff. It will be interesting to see if of those people move on from CCP in the next few months.

  2. I would expect that a good solid 3/4 of the people that were laid off were members of the WoD team that EVE players wouldn't have heard of.

  3. *Agrees with the above*

    What I hope is that CCP took the best that they had and cut the fat. It's hard in any corporation to remove "legacy management" as they usually have clout and a wide umbrella of responsibility to reassign. If they managed to trim THAT fat, then I feel quite good about them as a company. Thus far the community and marketing teams look like their stepping up their game and that's Step #1 towards happier players.

  4. I do think it's worth pointing out that, for the vast majority of the player base, the people let go at CCP are unknowns. Some of them may be well-known to a relatively small portion of the community, but, to be honest, I don't think most players follow the forums or the blogs, or any of the rest of the drama. Unless what happened negatively impacts the game, this will only be a severe blow to those community members who knew or recognized these people.

    None of that lessens the suck at all, of course, for those who got fired. Doesn't really matter what the reason for getting fired is, it still sucks. Royally.


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